Ridgeons round-up: Cornard eye up derby points

FOOTBALL - Stowmarket Town FC v Cornard United FC''Pictured: Scott Yearling (C)
FOOTBALL - Stowmarket Town FC v Cornard United FC''Pictured: Scott Yearling (C)

CORNARD United will be hoping to remove the tag of ‘basement boys’ from around their necks with all three points in the return derby at Halstead Town on Saturday (3pm).

Chris Symes’ side sunk to the bottom of the Ridgeons League First Division on Saturday without kicking a ball, thanks to Stowmarket Town providing the shock result of the weekend with a 1-1 draw with high-flyers March Town United.

But the Blackhouse Lane club, marooned at the bottom of the league all last season, can claw their way off the bottom with victory over Jimmy Holder’s Halstead Town (seventh), a side they drew 3-3 with in the reverse fixture only last month, with Stowmarket in cup action Saturday.

And Symes, who has backed a proposal put forward by the Ridgeons League to keep all their teams in an Eastern Counties league under the step five re-organisation, admitted he always looks forward to the prospect of playing at Halstead, whose open footballing style is sure to create another interesting game between the two.

“I am quite happy we are playing three footballing sides next in Halstead, Godmanchester and Brighlingsea but I am not looking forward to Thetford so much – they are up-and-under and ruthless,” he said.

“We always do well at Halstead and the last two or three years we won there and drew there twice.”

The 3-3 draw with their Essex neighbours on January 3 at Blackhouse Lane ended a run of five straight league defeats and was followed up with a point at promotion-chasing Debenham LC.

But Symes has revealed he will not be throwing caution to the wind at Rosemary Lane on Saturday, employing the theory the best form of defence is attack.

“We will start off attacking and see where that leads,” added Symes.

With the news that young goalkeeper Matt Walker has taken a break from the game to rest a hand injury, Barry Lynn will start in goal for Cornard, with the keepers having been rotated during the first half of the season.

Halstead narrowly lost to second placed Whitton United on Saturday (2-1) to make it just two wins from their last six games, but Cornard have yet to win away all season.

Long Melford (12th) host Downham Town (10th) at Stoneylands on Saturday (3pm) in the first of a double header at home, then taking on Stowmarket, with Cornard hoping their neighbours will do them a favour, a week later.

But all eyes at Melford will be focused on the draw for the semi-final of the Suffolk Senior Cup tomorrow (Friday), which takes place live on BBC Radio Suffolk at tea-time with the Villagers going into the hat with Whitton United, Grundisburgh and Felixstowe United. Suffolk FA has announced the matches will take place at neutral venues this season, with Melford knowing they are just 90 minutes away from playing at Ipswich Town’s Portman Road in the final.

Melford booked their place in the semi-final after a penalty shootout win over Suffolk and Ipswich League side Achilles.